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Suspect pulls out gun and shoots officer after being asked to lift his shirt

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Dan Belson
Baltimore Sun
(TNS)

Baltimore Police released body camera footage Wednesday of an encounter last month at a business in South Baltimore’s Fairfield Area that led to a man dying and a police officer being wounded.

The video, which is graphic in nature and contains profanity, shows a group of officers approaching the man, identified as 39-year-old Anthony Ferguson, and confronting him May 24 over an incident four days prior during when, police said, he discharged a gun. Ferguson, who police said was at work and on a break when officers approached him at about 10:25 p.m., eventually pulls a handgun from his waistband and exchanges gunfire with officers.

An officer, identified as Detective Nicholas Wellems, suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the shootout with Ferguson, who died at a hospital.

Baltimore Police, along with the Maryland attorney general’s office’s Independent Investigations Division, are investigating the shooting on the 3400 block of South Hanover Street. The police department released the footage shortly after showing it to media outlets at a Wednesday news conference.

The five officers, who are on administrative leave pending the results of the investigation, were identified as Wellems — who was investigating the case in which Ferguson was a suspect — as well as officers Brandall Mable, Nicolas Sturla, Kevin Retamale and Sgt. Timothy Copeland.

“You got it on you today, my man?” Copeland asks Ferguson in the video as officers approach him on the porch of a nondescript industrial building. “It was all on video, when you were shooting up the garage last week, or a couple days ago.”

“I don’t got anything,” replies Ferguson, who is sitting on the porch’s steps.

“All right, well, as long as you don’t got a gun on you, then we ain’t got much to talk about,” Copeland says in the video before searching Ferguson’s backpack.

After finding nothing in the backpack, Copeland asks Ferguson to lift his shirt. Ferguson then stands up and backs up as he reaches for his waist and begins to pull out a gun — and officers reach for theirs. The officers then call out for him to drop the gun for about five seconds before the sound of gunfire erupts.

Footage from Wellems’ body camera shows a clearer view of Ferguson drawing his gun and pointing it at Wellems before a muzzle flash appears. A stream of gunshots is then heard for the next four seconds or so.

The five officers responding fired a total of 39 rounds, said Deputy Police Commissioner Brian Nadeau, who heads the department’s Public Integrity and Compliance Bureau. Police believe Ferguson fired a total of three shots from a handgun with an extended magazine holding 15 rounds.

“I’m hit, I’m hit, I’m hit,” Wellems says, seconds after the gunfire stops.

Wellems, who was wearing a bulletproof vest, was treated that evening and “is recovering,” Nadeau said at the Wednesday news conference.

“The gunshot that struck him hit him in his vest … If his vest isn’t there, it goes into his heart, it probably kills him,” Police Commissioner Richard Worley said.

©2024 Baltimore Sun. Visit baltimoresun.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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